A guest post by Carolina Baker who can be found on Facebook and writing in her blog, Falling to Fly.
This month marks my year and a half of living in London and surprisingly, it’s starting to feel a bit more like home. Maybe this has been a catalyst for the new risks that I find myself taking on an almost daily basis. Some may seem small, but life changing change starts with small, daily, changes.
Here’s how my life has become more London based than ever before.
Daily Java Jolt – I used to be a daily Starbucks fanatic. Until, I discovered the deliciousness that is Monmouth Coffee. I was enthralled by the smell, the care, the queue, and the taste of their coffee. A few weeks later, Evan introduced me to Taylor Street Baristas and I was also hooked. Since giving up Starbucks altogether, my effort to visit different places around London has doubled. I’ve exposed my taste buds to wonderful things like salt beef bagels, salted caramel cakes, and organic mountain eggs.
Meetup.com – A few weeks ago, I was restless, I wanted to meet new people, and I needed inspiration. I took the plunge with Meetup. I found a great writing and reading group, and I immediately signed up for their events. Before I go any further, I need to confess that even though I come across as extremely confident, meeting new people and putting myself in situations where I have to interact with strangers scare me. The days of the events, I found multiple excuses not to go, (“I have to get on the tube,” “I’m tired,” “It’s raining,” “work delayed me”) and the only reason I didn’t listen is because I bartered with my fear. I told my fear that I only had to show up. And we both agreed that the act of showing up was pretty harmless. Once I was there, speaking to people was pleasant.
Yesterday, I even got my writing critiqued and the feedback was positive. And a fellow member asked me if I was going to stay after for a drink. I declined, but made a promise to myself, that next time, I will stay and socialize. On Thursday, I’m having lunch with a fellow member who is also itching for life change. I’m proud of myself because I’m the one who reached out and I am the one who organized the date.
A great consequence of traversing London for these meetups is that I’m becoming more comfortable finding my way through the city. First time visits do require a printed google map, but I can usually rely on memory for any meetups that come afterwards. I’m also enjoying checking out new venues (shooting star pub, tidbits, and Timberyard) that I probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon on my own.
I guess my first year in London was all about healing myself and my finances, and for that, I needed to keep my focus inward. I had a simple routine that included walking to work, exercising, working full-time, and travel. Since taking care of the fundamentals, this year’s focus is about exploring my home city and meeting people that inspire me to propel my life to the next level. In doing so, I know that my ties to London will always remain strong, even after Evan and I leave the city for South America.